Bouar is a town located on a plateau about 437 km from Bangui in the Central African Republic in the Nana-Mambere prefecture. Its population is close to 100,000.
Despite being one of the largest cities in the Central African Republic, Bouar has problems with potable water, attacks from vigilantes, looting and violence, lack of medical facilities and doctors, and displaced people.
Families not safe
The water problem in the region began when the local water utility company shut down in 2003. After this, cases of parasitic infections and typhoid began to increase. Bouar is about the size of France but has less than 10 doctors creating a huge backlog on patient care.
Since Bouar is strategically located between Chad and Cameroon, the clashes between militia rebels occur close to or within the borders of the town. In short, it is a bone of contention with families being highly affected.
Children’s future in danger
As always with violence and political unrest, it is the children who suffer the most. They cannot comprehend the violence around them; they need food and sustenance; and they live in houses with no electricity and drinkable water.
Most children don’t attend school and if a parent has to choose between a son and daughter, the son will get the education and the daughter will stay home or be pushed to work. Many teenage daughters are forced into marriage, ending any dreams they have for themselves.
Our Work In Bouar
SOS Children has been in Bouar since 2007. It started with an SOS Children's Village because there were so many orphans, children with parents unable to care for them, or children living with an elderly relative. Part of the efforts of SOS Children in Bouar is to teach children their rights to an education, protection from violence and abuse, and access to basic services.
There are several SOS families who can take in well over 100 children where they are sent to the SOS Nursery and encouraged to socialise with other children in the neighbourhood. The children go to the SOS Primary School in Bouar which has over 200 pupils.
Families given hope
Families may fall apart in the area due to poverty, fighting, and lack of social services. Our community programme gives them hope through education, vocational training, basic health and emotional support. We also help families via home visits, counselling for those affected by abuse, diseases and disability, and those with the HIV/AIDS virus. The SOS staff worked hard to supply as many needs as possible to as many people as they could, including literacy training and micro-loans for parents.
Our community outreach work has been able to recently expand its reach to more struggling families by establishing the SOS Social Centre. This centre offers nutritional and health services, occupational training, finance management, family services and counselling. We also form partnerships with local agencies to assist parents in rearing their children well in spite of the violence surrounding them.
SOS Medical Centre attends to as many as 12,000 residents in a year and provides basic immunisation, information on family planning, and anti-retroviral treatment to those with HIV/AIDS. The centre also has a social worker and teacher aside from the medical staff to ensure a comprehensive coverage on serving the needs of the community.
Emergency relief at a time of great need
CAR has been affected by unrest since early 2013. With twenty years of experience in CAR, we are a key part of the relief effort; helping displaced families and children separated from their parents both here and over the border in Chad and Cameroon. Bouar is one of the many locations where we are providing support to those forced from home by war.
Family is important and the community in Bouar know and understand this, but they need help. Will you sponsor a child, and give them a new family home?